Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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(7,730 words)

The word sūtra is used to designate two distinct categories of Sanskrit and Middle Indic literature. In one aspect, the word is used to designate collections of short aphoristic rules, each of which is called a sūtra: a Sūtra is in this way a collection of sūtras. Such Sūtras belong primarily, though not exclusively, to the various Śāstras (disciplines, sciences) of the Brahmanical tradition. The other kind of Sūtras are primarily, perhaps exclusively, found in the canonical literature of the…

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Bronkhorst, Johannes, “Sūtras”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 08 June 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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